Friday, September 25, 2009

The Arab Christian Kingdom of Ghassan--Vassal state of the Eastern Roman Empire

One of the infuriating stereotypes about Arabs is that they are all Muslims. Today, there are many Arab Christians and, once upon time, there were even entire Arab kingdoms that were Christian. Philip the Arab, the only Arab emperor of Rome, may well have been the first Christian emperor of Rome, 75 years prior to the "conversion" of Constantine.

This video, which is deficient in its many spelling errors, gives information on the Kingdom of Ghassan which was a vassal state of the Eastern Roman Empire (i.e. Byzantine Empire) which served as a buffer against the aggressive Persian Sassanids, the nomadic Bedouins but also was a major cultural nexus for far the far east and the middle east. It was also a Christian Kingdom, though it was Monophysite. The Monophysites, are non-Chalcedonian Christians, who believed that Christ had only one nature--divine. Though non-Chalcedonian Christians today would counter that as a wrong interpretation of their belief and faith, it is what has stuck for a long time. No pejorative connation is not to be infered.

Anyway, enjoy the video. There are some really cool pictures of the Kingdom of Ghassan which was located mainly in modern Syria, Golan Heights, Jordan, parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, their art, architecture, etc.. Many of the Christians that still remain in the middle east are located still in the confines of this old kingdom.

Friday, September 18, 2009

210 Reasons Rome Fell

This is a fairly exhuastive list and yet I still find it incomplete. In a lot of ways this smacks of Gibbon who believed that the fall of Rome was due to Christianity, which Dr. Demandt includes here, but he does not mention paganism. He does mention mystery religions which included cults of Dionysus and the famous Eleusinian mysteries to Demeter and Persephone, but not all pagan religions were mystery cults. However, like anything, the rise and fall of a civilization cannot be credited to any one thing. According to Demandt, all these things working in concert did it. What to keep, then? And what to eliminate?

Here they are : (from the History blog) (compiled by German historian Alexander Demandt for his 1984 history Der Fall Roms)

Abolition of gods, abolition of rights, absence of character, absolutism, agrarian question, agrarian slavery, anarchy, anti-Germanism, apathy, aristocracy, asceticism, attacks by Germans, attacks by Huns, attacks by nomads on horseback.

Backwardness in science, bankruptcy, barbarization, bastardization, blockage of land by large landholders, blood poisoning, bolshevization, bread and circuses, bureaucracy, Byzantinism.

Capitalism, change of capitals, caste system, celibacy, centralization, childlessness, Christianity, citizenship (granting of), civil war, climatic deterioration, communism, complacency, concatenation of misfortunes, conservatism, corruption, cosmopolitanism, crisis of legitimacy, culinary excess, cultural neurosis.

Decentralization, decline of Nordic character, decline of the cities, decline of the Italic population, deforestation, degeneration, degeneration of intellect, demoralization, depletion of mineral resources, despotism, destruction of environment, destruction of peasantry, destruction of political process, destruction of Roman influence, devastation, differences in wealth, disarmament, disillusion with state, division of empire, division of labour.

Earthquakes, egoism, egoism of the state, emancipation of slaves, enervation, epidemics, equal rights (granting of), eradication of the best, escapism, ethnic dissolution, excessive aging of population, excessive civilization, excessive culture, excessive foreign infiltration, excessive freedom, excessive urbanization, expansion, exploitation.

Fear of life, female emancipation, feudalization, fiscalism, gladiatorial system, gluttony, gout, hedonism, Hellenization, heresy, homosexuality, hothouse culture, hubris, hyperthermia.

Immoderate greatness, imperialism, impotence, impoverishment, imprudent policy toward buffer states, inadequate educational system, indifference, individualism, indoctrination, inertia, inflation, intellectualism, integration (weakness of), irrationality, Jewish influence.

Lack of leadership, lack of male dignity, lack of military recruits, lack of orderly imperial succession, lack of qualified workers, lack of rainfall, lack of religiousness, lack of seriousness, large landed properties, lead-poisoning, lethargy, levelling (cultural), levelling (social), loss of army discipline, loss of authority, loss of energy, loss of instincts, loss of population, luxury.

Malaria, marriages of convenience, mercenary system, mercury damage, militarism, monetary economy, monetary greed, money (shortage of), moral decline, moral idealism, moral materialism, mystery religions, nationalism of Rome’s subjects, negative selection.

Orientalization, outflow of gold, over-refinement, pacifism, paralysis of will, paralysation, parasitism, particularism, pauperism, plagues, pleasure-seeking, plutocracy, polytheism, population pressure, precociousness, professional army, proletarization, prosperity, prostitution, psychoses, public baths.

Racial degeneration, racial discrimination, racial suicide, rationalism, refusal of military service, religious struggles and schisms, rentier mentality, resignation, restriction to profession, restriction to the land, rhetoric, rise of uneducated masses, romantic attitudes to peace, ruin of middle class, rule of the world.

Semi-education, sensuality, servility, sexuality, shamelessness, shifting of trade routes, slavery, Slavic attacks, socialism (of the state), social tensions, soil erosion, soil exhaustion, spiritual barbarism, stagnation, stoicism, stress, structural weakness, superstition.

Taxation, pressure of terrorism, tiredness of life, totalitarianism, treason, tristesse, two-front war, underdevelopment, useless diet, usurpation of all powers by the state, vaingloriousness, villa economy, vulgarization.